FIFA has postponed South American qualifying matches for the 2022 Qatar World Cup after a request from the region’s football federation amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
,A statement from the sport’s world governing body read:
“Following consultation with CONMEBOL, FIFA has decided to postpone the upcoming South American qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as follows:
“Matches originally scheduled to take place during the international window of 23-31 March 2020 are postponed to later dates
Details of the postponed matches will be discussed and announced soon
“FIFA will continue to assess the situation in relation to COVID-19 and will decide whether further changes to the schedule of South American FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers are required, always with the aim of protecting the health and safety of all individuals involved.”
Qualification is yet to get underway for the next World Cup in Qatar in South America’s 10-team league. Paraguay vs Peru was due to be the first fixture of the next wave of qualification, with Argentina vs Ecuador and Brazil vs Bolivia also in the first round.
A number of Latin America’s top football stars play for European teams in countries that have seen significant cases of the virus and would have faced quarantines on their return to their home countries.
FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura told her counterpart at CONMEBOL, Jose Astigarraga, that the health and safety of those involved in the World Cup was her primary concern.
‘We will continue to work with and consult you and your team to be able to find possible dates in which these matches can be played, something which will require… solutions that take into account the unique and fast-changing nature of this exceptional situation,’ she wrote in the letter.